To truly capture my birth story, I need to go back nearly 11 years ago when I found myself for the first time, experiencing labor and preparing to deliver our first son. I had spent countless hours studying natural childbirth. I went into the hospital feelings ready to experience the natural birthing experience. However, I didn't feel like I was given the freedom to move and help the labor progress with the monitors all over me and IV line and stand to wheel around. I was disappointed when I was told that my Dr didn't feel that my labor was progressing well and that Pitocin would be needed. Looking back now, I know that my labor was progressing, just not as quickly as they wanted. Unfortunately, I hadn't yet found "my voice", and allowed the Pitocin to be administered. I was discouraged as the nurse gave me the Pitocin and asked again if I wanted an Epidural and after I again declined, the look on her face told me that she didn't believe that to be possible once the Pitocin started working. I was determined to not have any other outside influences affecting my baby and continued to deliver without any other medications. My deliver was hard and long due to a posterior baby. I remember feeling deflated because I didn't feel like I had the experience and control that I had been looking for.
When it came time to deliver my second son a few years later, again I was told that I needed Pitocin to "help" my baby deliver sooner. I felt like I was being a bad mother if I refused it because I was made to feel that my baby needed this assistance. Although the delivery of our son was easier, he was stressed and required assistance for hours after his birth to breath. I felt that in both of my birth experiences, a lot of the stress on the baby and struggles that they had were aggravated if not created by the outside influences meant to help them deliver sooner.
I specifically remember sitting in the hospital bed and promising myself that I would never allow myself to be talked into things that speed up the labor and that I would finally have the labor that I wanted to.
A few years later, I found myself preparing to deliver our daughter. I enjoyed laboring at home throughout the day. I was able to move about as I desired and be in my own comfortable surroundings rather than in a hospital room. I checked into the hospital dialated to a 10 and ready to push. I thought I would finally get the delivery that I wanted. I was dismayed when I was told I couldn't start pushing until the monitors were in place and the IV was in. They even started administering antibiotics for my Group B strep. I knew that it took 2 hours for the antibiotics to be effective and when I requested that I not be given them since they wouldn't be working in time for the delivery (which was minutes away), I was told it was hospital protocol and I didn't have a choice. My delivery was quick and easy and our daughter had no complications at all. However, I again felt that I didn't have full control over my labor and was told what was best for me and my baby, when my body and intiuition were pleading to the contrary.
I thought my birth stories would end there as we felt that our family was complete. Imagine our surprise when 4 years later we discovered that another blessing would be coming into our home. After the shock of the news had subsided, I vividly remember my determination to have the birth I had always wanted and was determined to deliver completely naturally in my home.
Janae was a perfect fit for me and always approached my prenatal care with attention and calmness. There were no "bells and whistles" like what I felt I had with my previous pregnancies. My pregnancy went along smoothly. When I passed the time that I had delivered all of my other pregnancies, I couldn't help but be discouraged. By the time that I was a week overdue, I was beyond exhausted with the constant advice of everyone around me telling me to eat this, or do that to "get that baby out!" I had several conversations with Janae and she would always help me to remember that the baby would come when she was ready and trying to rush her here was exactly what I was trying to avoid. I always appreciated her calmness and the way she could help me refocus on what I was trying to achieve.
When my labor began, I was so excited to know that I didn't have to go to the hospital and could surround myself with people that I loved and could share this experience with me. Most of my laboring was done in the bathtub. I prefer to labor on my own, without anyone touching or talking to me. I was so grateful that everyone in my birth team, completely understood that and allowed the enviornment that I created to be just as I had envisioned. When it came time to push, it was discovered that my baby was breech. Of course, this brought up feelings of fear and I knew it was a higher risk delivery and in the hospital, most Dr's simply perform a C-Section. Janae was able to calm me and instruct me on the things that needed to happen with this type of delivery. The delivery was anxious and difficult but our daughter was born and Janae demonstrated her medical skills and was able to assist our baby in getting her breathing and she was soon bathed and nursing in the comfort of my own bed.
My home birth story not only taught me great patience but also the need to be able to adjust to the situations (not complications) as they arise. The ability to have complete freedom of movement and control during labor and to be in the comfort of my own home were priceless.
I feel that the following quote, truly captures the way that I feel about home birth. "If women lose the ability to birth their children as they choose, then they will have lost something as precious to life as breathing."